With friends like this, NIOSH needs no enemies. President Obama’s FY12 budget proposal issued earlier this week calls for eliminating or “zero-ing out” in bureaucratese funding for NIOSH’s 17 ERCs for a savings of $25 million, according to the blog, “The Pump Handle.”

Funding for ERCs from University of Alabama and University of Cincinnati, to Johns Hopkins and University of Utah supports 87 academic programs. ERCs provide graduate and doctoral level specialty training in occupational health and safety theory, methods, practice and policy to the next generation of researchers, nurses, and physicians who will work in the discipline.

Recently the Institute of Medicine warned about 1) the looming critical "shortage of classically trained doctoral level safety professionals;" 2) "the number of graduates from residency programs is insufficient to meet the current and future demands for occupational medicine physicians;" and 3) "the major shortfall in the occupational health nursing field is the same as that of the occupational medicine field; that is, there is not so much a shortage of practitioners as there is a shortage of practitioners with formal training in the field," according to The Pump Handle post.